Tags: Israel | Palestinians | Abbas | Livni

Israelis Warn Abbas on Peace Talks, Terror Prisoner Release

Image: Israelis Warn Abbas on Peace Talks, Terror Prisoner Release
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 06:14 PM

Israel’s chief peace negotiator warned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas  Tuesday that Jerusalem may not complete the final stage of a Palestinian prisoner release unless the PA  agrees to continue negotiations beyond the April deadline set by Washington.

The official, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, issued the warning one day after Abbas, meeting with President Obama at the White House, pressed Israel to release the final group of 104 inmates imprisoned for terror offenses committed before the signing of the September 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

Israel has already released more than 70 of the inmates in three batches since July, with the final release scheduled for March 29 – one month before the deadline Secretary of State John Kerry initially set for concluding an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.

But with peace negotiations stalemated, and Abbas rejecting Israel’s demand that he recognize it as a Jewish state, Israeli officials express concern that he might walk out of peace talks once the prisoners go free. 

Citing Arab media sources, the Jerusalem Post reported that one of Abbas’ major demands is to win the release of two men Israel regards as high-profile terrorists: Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for his role in attacks that killed and wounded numerous Israelis more than a decade ago, and Ahmed Sa'adat, behind bars for plotting the October 2001 murder of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi.

"There was never any automatic commitment to release prisoners unrelated to making progress in negotiations," Livni said Tuesday in a speech in southern Israel.

She linked the prisoner release to Abbas’ willingness to agree to extend negotiations beyond April 29.

"The key to the door for Palestinian prisoners is in Abu Mazen's hands," Livni said, using Abbas's nom de guerre.

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Israel’s chief peace negotiator warned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday that Jerusalem may not complete the final stage of a Palestinian prisoner release unless the PA agrees to continue negotiations beyond the April deadline set by Washington.
Israel,Palestinians,Abbas,Livni
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2014-14-18
Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 06:14 PM
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